“Weeeeelllll………..I don’t know much I’m just and old cowboy, but seems to me you was pretty good with them kids. I think you have a hankering for it. I know a bit about these things, I coached a fair deal myself. Dealt with a lot the things, the normal stuff you do as a coach, but I always had a pickup filled with a bunch a little kids, and I always had something for them to chew on and something to drink at practice, especially for the kids whose parents weren’t able. I know where you coming from and it seems to me you’re probably just about as good as anyone at it,” Tom said.

Tom is the guy that when he calls you, stretches out his first couple of words of his salvo to let you know he is happy to hear from you. “Weellllll hellooooooooo good buddy! How are you doing Bubba?” he always says to me. Tom is like that great uncle that you love to visit. The guy that always had a present or candy in his jacket that he brought just for you kids. The uncle that would always steer you to the right answer but never told you were wrong for thinking something foolish. Tom is the kind of guy that will be a volunteer rodeo clown, putting himself between you and an angry bull.

Tom called just to chew the fat. He has been working pretty hard running for representative in his state of New Mexico, and he won the Republican primary. He accomplished this by campaigning, speaking to groups, and meeting his constituency. Politicking the old fashion way, actually talking to people and not just running adds; it is caring for his neighbors. Tom takes Tip O’Neil’s axiom to heart, “All politics is local.” Getting to know his neighbors and their concerns should be what our elected officials base their time and votes upon. Obviously, running his business and family obligations in addition to campaign work takes a toll on a man.

Tom had an accident the other day, he slipped and fell and broke a couple of bones in his foot… But Tom assured me, “I should’ve seen the other cowboy.” J

Tom always has good advice. Do what you love. I was sharing with him the realization recently that I’m nearing a year on this pilgrimage. In addition, I’m only 200 miles from the other coast. A lot of seminal moments…

“A lot of questions…” he said.

“Yeah, how best to continue to serve?” I replied.

“Well Bubba, I just wanted to tell you I was thinking about you. And like I always say, if it’s broke…don’t fix it,” Tom told me. “And if you get into trouble, well I’ll get you some bail money,” he said dropping an octave in his voice to let me know he was joking. Tom’s one-liners are garnered from a life well lived.

“You crack me up,” I said. ‘Tom, I’ve really got to tell you, you are one of the people that I’ve met that really meant a lot to me. You are a great guy, and you were the first person I ever let give me a ride. I’m so glad I said yes to your offer,” I continued. “You have given to me good advice, and things to think about.”

“Well, if I did offer you any learnin’ it is probably just enough to get you in fight one day,” he said.

I said goodbye with, “Dude you crack me up.”